Identifying data state agencies collect, maintain or hold – even if it is historical data – is an excellent first step towards identifying datasets to publish on Iowa Data.  This data snapshot offers recommended activities to get started.

Agency Website

Reviewing data state agencies have already posted on their agency website is a logical first step.  Look at Microsoft Excel files or public facing applications, which allow visitors to search for records.  The data may not necessarily be accessible in bulk, or available through machine-readable mechanisms, but can serve as a good starting point.

Published Reports

Published reports are often populated with data which is compiled or aggregated from internal data systems.  For example, a public report may indicate that an agency has closed 100 projects in the last month.  The internal data system, which maintains information for each project, will likely have additional details that can be made public, such as, the type of project, its location, etc.

Public Information Officer

Agency public information officers will often have information regarding data or reports frequently requested by citizens or other agencies.

Statistical Analyses Performed

These analyses often use data from various sources, and are typically associated with issues or problems agencies deem important.  The state agency’s constituency may also find this information of value.

Federal Agency or Legislative Reports

Reports submitted to federal agencies or the state legislature (and their underlying data sources) can help identify data which can also be provided to the public.  In addition, meeting these reporting requirements (particularly statutory ones) might be accomplished simply by making the dataset(s) available on

Exploring Data Published by Others

Look at data already published by other state agencies on the data portal.  Explore the Open Data Network to see what others are publishing in different states, counties and cities, and the U.S. Government’s data portal -  Both may provide a source for ideas.